Guy Shirra was languishing on his Tan Cheung rooftop with the first coffee of the day when something went plop in his mug. He looked up and there was a white-bellied sea eagle a few feet overhead. A mate circled nearby.
Guy rushed indoors to get his camera, Hungry Joe-like. Racing back out again he got two photos of the eagle whose wings can span 7.2ft. On its second sortie the big creature had nesting material in its beak. “He was preparing for a bit of winter nookie with his mate,” Guy said. He sent the photos to Martin Williams of hkoutdoors.com, who confirmed it was a white-bellied sea eagle, “not a close-up of a sparrow as he had previously admonished me!
Martin said, “It is not so hard to see them in Sai Kung. They fly between the public pier and the golf course. You will see the bird photographers out there. This is the key species they want to shoot.” Martin said the eagles used to reside on the nearby islet, but the war-gamers may have scared them away. Eight to 10 pairs of sea eagles are believed to live in Hong Kong all year round.
White-bellied sea eagles are large diurnal birds of prey, sometimes called “a super-species”. The adults have a white head, breast, under-wing covets and tail. Upper feathers are grey. Females, whose wings can span 7.2ft, are slightly larger than males. They honk like geese, “quite a noise for a bird of prey,” Martin said. The eagles breed and hunt near water from India to Australia and throughout much of Southeast Asia!